News from OAC

President's Message - March, 2006

President's Message - March, 2006

            It is a great pleasure and honor to become the new President of the Ohio Archaeological Council. I follow in wonderful footsteps. Bob Riordan served for two years as the prior President and did an outstanding job. He committed his time to the position, worked diligently, and used his generous insight to make informed and wise decisions on behalf of the OAC. We all owe Bob a hardy thanks!

         Over the next two years, I hope to follow the fine example set by Bob towards fostering the mission of the OAC. We are currently orchestrating the Spring meeting for May, and Abstracts from that meeting will be immediately posted on the web. We also are moving the Early Woodland/Adena manuscript along. The chapters in that volume will be submitted soon for review under the auspices of Ohio University Press. We also are engaged in representing the display and preservation of the archaeological record and heritage of Ohio.

            Since you are reading this message, you know we have a new web page design for the OAC. It is our commitment to keep you informed and current on all OAC and OAC-related matters. The web page is our primary mechanism for sharing that information with our members; it also is our public face. I hope you all benefit from the new web page and make it routine to periodically check for current news, research, and external relations by the OAC.

            Sincerely,

            Elliot Abrams
            Professor of Anthropology, Ohio University
            President, OAC
 
 

President's Message

I hope those of you who were lucky enough to be in the field this summer had a successful season and are getting on to the cleaning, cataloging, and analysis. I also hope to read about your activities in upcoming OAC Newsletters or hear about them at future OAC meetings.

I have some good news to report. Bob Genheimer has told the Board that the Late Prehistoric publication should be going to the printer by the first of the year. We are all looking forward to getting back on a regular publication schedule.

Please note on your calendars, if you haven't already, the annual meeting of the Eastern States Archeological Federation on November 18-21. As Ohio's representative to this organization, the OAC is the official host for the meetings. They will be held at the Kings Island Convention Center and Resort, Kings Island, Ohio, about 25 miles northeast of Cincinnati along I-71. A full program and registration form will be sent to OAC members along with the election ballot, which you should receive soon. Bill Dancey has organized an interesting workshop for OAC members on Friday morning, November 19 at Fort Ancient State Memorial, and a symposium on Friday afternoon at the Kings Island Convention Center that should be of interest to both OAC and ESAF members. By the way, you can join ESAF as an individual, which includes a copy of the annual publication Archaeology of Eastern North America. Recent issues have included articles by Brian Redmond, Ken Tankersley, Brad Lepper, and David Stothers, among others. Membership information is available at http://www.siftings.com (further information on the ESAF annual meeting is at http://www.quad50.com).

By the time of our fall meeting, we should have the OAC website on line (or at least very close to being on line). Like the Newsletter, the website will be an important communication link to our members, to potential members, and to people who are interested in or have questions about archaeology in Ohio. Also, like the Newsletter, the website provides an opportunity for all OAC members to write articles, announce fieldwork opportunities, etc. These two outlets are ideal for communicating, perhaps in abstracts or executive summary form, the results of the contract archaeology projects underway in the state.

OAC elections are fast approaching. Thanks to all the candidates for running. As the end of my term as your president approaches, I want to express my thanks to the other officers, trustees, and committee chairs for all their efforts during the past two years. I am confident that the next two years with Bill Dancey at the helm will see the Council expand its membership and continue to make a significant contribution to Ohio archaeology.

Read more: President's Message

OAC Government Affairs Committee Report

Spirit Cave Man friend of the court brief: As we did in the Kennewick Man case, where we successfully supported the position of the scientists in seeking access to the remains of Kennewick Man for scientific study, last month the OAC submitted a friend of the court brief in support of the defendant Bureau of Land Management. The brief was written by Brad Lepper, assisted by Al Tonetti, Bob Riordan, Elliot Abrams, and attorney's Brad Baker (former OAC member) and Alan Schneider (Kennewick Man case attorney). The brief focuses on the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone tribe's claim of cultural affiliation with the subject human remains, particularly the tribe's conflation of the concepts archaeological cultures and ethnic groups, claiming that the prior equates to the latter, which we contend is not the case. See the OAC Document Library for a copy of the brief.

Read more: OAC Government Affairs Committee Report

AD HOC LEGISLATIVE ISSUES COMMITTEE REPORT

State Legislation, 123rd Ohio General Assembly, 1999-2000

Chair's note: It is important that OAC members understand state (and federal) laws affecting archaeology and related matters, such as vandalism, desecration, and cemeteries. This is particularly important now because some members of the Indian artifact collector community in Ohio may seek to modify Ohio laws that they perceive as a threat to collecting Indian artifacts. Also, some Native Americans who worked to get recent revisions to Ohio's vandalism and desecration laws passed may attempt to revise these laws again as they find that these laws are not effective in prohibiting the excavation of Native American (and other) human remains and associated grave goods during archaeological investigations or when the excavator has the permission of, or is, the property owner, and do not affect the curation of such remains and grave goods at non-federally funded institutions. Please prepare to address these matters by educating yourself about Ohio's laws dealing with archaeology.

S.B. 51. Increases penalties for the desecration of a place of worship or an object of reverence or sacred devotion

Despite what you may have heard from some individuals in the Indian artifact collector community, this bill (now law) does not increase the level of offense for desecrating an "Indian mound or earthwork, cemetery, thing, or site of great historical or archaeological interest" [ORC Section 2927.11(A)(3)] from a second degree misdemeanor to a felony. The intent of this law is to increase the level of offense for desecrating churches, temples, and similar places of worship, not archaeological and historical sites or cemeteries as defined in the existing desecration statute. The law increases the penalty for desecrating a "place of worship, its furnishings, or religious artifacts or sacred texts within the place of worship [ORC Section 2927.11(A)(4)], or any other object of reverence or sacred devotion [ORC Section 2927.11(A)(6)]," and specifically references that it does not apply to the section of the existing desecration law prohibiting desecration of archaeological and historical sites and American Indian cemeteries.

Based on the amount of physical harm to such property, the law increases the level of offense from a second degree misdemeanor to a fifth, fourth, or third degree felony. The law also permits the recovery of compensatory, punitive, and exemplary damages, court costs, attorney's fees, and other reasonable expenses in convictions for all forms of desecration (Ohio Revised Code [ORC] Section 2927.11) and vandalism (ORC Section 2909.05) from the offender by the person suffering injury or loss pursuant to ORC Section 2307.70.

This bill was signed into law by Governor Taft on June 17,1999. It became effective September 20, 1999.

The full text of this and all other bills and laws, and the Ohio Legislative Service Commission's analysis of this and all other bills, can be acquired from your State Representative or from the Ohio General Assembly's Web site at http://www.legislature.state.oh.us. Copies of existing Ohio laws, including the vandalism and desecration laws referred to above, can also be accessed on the Internet at http://www.avv.com/orc.

Federal Legislation

Revisions to 36 CFR Part 800, "Protection of Historic Properties," Approved by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation On February 12, 1999, following six years of review, comment, and study, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) formally adopted revised regulations implementing Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). These regulations were prepared pursuant to the 1992 amendments to the NHPA. The NHPA requires that Federal agencies take into account the affects of their actions on historic properties and provide the ACHP an opportunity to comment on such actions. The version adopted is based on the May 1998 draft of the proposed regulations. The final regulations were published in the Federal Register on May 18th and took effect June 17th.

The revised regulations emphasize the responsibilities of Federal agencies and permits more direct involvement from State, local, and Tribal governments, and the public, in the Section 106 process. The revised regulations also reduces the ACHP's role in routine Federal undertakings, thus permitting the ACHP to focus its involvement on complex and controversial Federal undertakings and overseeing the implementation of the Section 106 process.

Draft Guidance on Archaeological Data Recovery Projects Issued by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation

[Chairs note: The ACHP seeks comments on this guidance intended for use by Federal agencies, State and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices, and others pursuant to 36 CFR Part 800. Everyone should read and consider the implications of this guidance. It contains some very useful, interesting, and perhaps controversial guidance, such as recommending that archaeological data recovery is not appropriate when Native American "human remains, associated or unassociated funerary objects, sacred objects, or items of cultural patrimony" are present or likely to be present. OAC members should have received a copy of this guidance either at the May 21 OAC meeting or with the minutes from that meeting. If you have not received a copy and want one, please contact Al Tonetti at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (614) 268-2514]

The ACHP has issued a draft Federal Register notice and guidance on consultation for projects involving archaeological data recovery. Basically, the ACHP has developed a recommended approach for consulting on the recovery of significant information from archaeological sites. The guidance is intended to 1) simplify the process of reaching agreement in these situations, 2) clarify expectations for archaeological data recovery plans, 3) clarify expectations for consultation with affected parties, 4) ensure that archaeological data recovery is used only when appropriate, and 5) make clear that if Federal agencies and other consulting parties follow this guidance, the ACHP is unlikely to get involved in consultation or raise objections to resulting agreements unless there is an unusual or controversial situation. This guidance took effect on the effective date of the revised Section 106 regulations, June 17, 1999. Written comments concerning this guidance should be directed to the Executive Director, ACHP, Old Post Office Building, 100 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., #809, Washington D.C. 20004; FAX (202) 606-8647; email .

The guidance identifies 10 basic principles concerning the treatment of archaeological sites when archaeological data recovery is being considered, and 12 principles concerning resolving adverse effects through the recovery of significant information from archaeological sites. A model format for a Memorandum of Agreement concerning archaeological data recovery projects is also included in the guidance.

Current information about the revised 36 CFR Part 800 regulations and the draft guidance on archaeological data recovery projects can be obtained from the ACHP's Web site http://www.achp.gov.

Draft Principles of Agreement Regarding the Disposition of Culturally Unidentifiable Human Remains Issued by the National Park Service

At its June 25-27, 1999 meeting, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) Review Committee approved draft principles of agreement regarding the disposition of culturally unidentifiable human remains pursuant to Section 8 (c)(5) of NAGPRA. Written comments received by September 3, 1999 were to be considered by the Review Committee at their next scheduled meeting. The draft principles were published in the Federal Register on July 29, 1999 (Vol. 64, No. 145, pp. 41135-41136). The Federal Register notice notes that the Review Committee "wishes to underscore the preliminary nature of the principles and their placement as a beginning point for consideration of this topic." Comments should be addressed to, and copies of the notice can also be obtained from, the NAGPRA Review Committee c/o Departmental Consulting Archeologist, National Park Service (2275) 1849 C. St., NW. (NC340), Washington, DC 20240. Electronic comments are unacceptable. For additional information contact Dr. C. Timothy McKeown at the National Park Service at (202) 343-4101.

Revisions to 36 CFR Part 61, "Procedures for State, Tribal, and Local Government Historic Preservation Programs," Approved by U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service

On March 9, 1999, following nearly two and half years of review, comment, and study, the National Park Service published the final rule revising requirements for State, tribal, and local historic preservation programs carrying out actions under the NHPA. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and eight U.S. territories participate in such programs on lands under their jurisdiction, as do more than 1,100 certified local governments and 17 tribal governments. These regulations were prepared pursuant to the 1992 amendments to the NHPA. The rule took effect June 9, 1999.

The revisions to 36 CFR Part 61 do not address the Indian tribe sections of the regulations, 36 CFR Part 61.8 and 61.9. These sections are currently under development by NPS in consultation with federally recognized tribes and other interested parties. When a draft of these sections is completed it will be issued for review and comment in the Federal Register. Given the increased role of federally-recognized tribes, and for that matter state and local governments in the NHPA as a result of the 1992 amendments, Sections 61.8 and 61.9 may result in further revisions to 36 CFR Part 61.

Senate Bill 548, to Establish the Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis National Historical Site in the State of Ohio

On March 4, 1999, Ohio Senator Michael DeWine introduced Senate Bill 548 designating the Lucas County, Ohio sites of Fallen Timbers Battlefield (1794) and Fort Miamis (1794-1813) as national historic sites. These two sites are associated with the U.S. military history and Native American culture between 1794-1813. In May, the bill was recommended for approval by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and is now before the U.S. Senate. The bill would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to provide technical assistance to the State of Ohio, local governments, and to nonprofit organizations in order to implement a stewardship plan and develop programs to preserve and interpret the historical, cultural, natural, recreational, and scenic resources of these two sites.

Read more: AD HOC LEGISLATIVE ISSUES COMMITTEE REPORT

Letter regarding ACHP's "Policy Statement Regarding Treatment of Human Remains and Grave Goods"

December 1, 2005

John M. Fowler
Archaeology Task Force
Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
1100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 809
Washington, D.C. 20004

Re: Working Principles for Revising the Advisory Council for Historic Preservation's "Policy Statement Regarding Treatment of Human Remains and Grave Goods" (Federal Register Vol. 70, No. 169, September 1, 2005)

 
Dear Mr. Fowler

The Ohio Archaeological Council (OAC) wishes to offer comments on the above Working Principles developed by the Archaeology Task Force. The Ohio Archaeological Council is a private, non-profit corporation registered with the State of Ohio in 1975 as a charitable scientific and educational organization promoting the advancement of archaeology in Ohio. The Ohio Archaeological Council consists of professional archaeologists, avocational archaeologists, and interested students of Ohio archaeology.

Read more: Letter regarding ACHP's "Policy Statement Regarding Treatment of Human Remains and Grave Goods"